MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The owner of a trucking company faces a felony charge of theft by swindle for allegedly building a scheme network that allowed him to avoid paying employees the wages they earned.

The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office charged Gary Bauerly, the owner of WATAB, with one count of theft by swindle, according to papers filed Thursday.

An investigation involving multiple agencies found that between January and December of 2007 Bauerly pocketed $52,000 in wages that belonged to employees, the attorney’s office said.

“The defendant engaged in a series of schemes and scams to steal wages from his employees through intimidation and nefarious accounting practices,” said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman. “He defrauded not only his employees, but also the contractors and government agencies he entered into agreements with and the communities in which these projects took place.”

Bauerly’s scheme worked like this: he would give fraudulent information to contractors and administrators for various state contracts. In those contracts, he’d say that employees would have to be paid the prevailing wage rate – the rate specified in a given area by the Department of Labor and Industry for work on state projects.

But in order to avoid playing employees the prevailing wage, Bauerly used multiple schemes to intimidate his employees and keep contractors in the dark, the attorney’s office said.

According to a criminal complaint, Bauerly threatened to reduce employee’s wages if they failed to deposit money in his account; he’d force employees to falsify timesheets, he’d withhold employee wages in order to pay for business expenses; he’d write checks but wouldn’t distribute them to employees; and he’d keep two sets of book.

If convicted, Bauerly could serve up to 20 years in prison and/or pay a fine of up to $100,000.

Comments (8)
  1. tom says:

    typical liberal, lock him up for life

    1. Barb says:

      that, Tom, was rude! I could say typical conservative to say something nasty about someone, but I won’t.

      1. DC says:

        Not relevant to this story–otherwise known as how to tell who’s the loser.

  2. Michele says:

    Actually, it seems to be a perfect argument for unions.

    1. David J. Conklin says:

      That’s why we have them. Too many business owners can’t be trusted to play it straight.

      1. Brad says:

        I used to work for him. He was dirty as all get out. Only worked one season. If you reported working while he wasn’t actually getting paid he only paid you minimum wage. Than if you got over time because of it he averaged the 5.15 an hour with your over time wages to bring it lower.

  3. Bubba says:

    Hey Hey Hay Gary iz cants wait to seez you in my cell my white little pink butt monkey man. XOXOXO

  4. C0cK suck!ng ahole! says:

    Hmmm. The swindled employees should really throw this guy a barbecue – as in burn down his friggin’ business, and maybe his house too!